Small Business Resilience Series Pt. 3: Engage your Local Community
By Kate Galbo
While each person has an individual obligation to take action on climate change, this doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Communities need to work together to be truly resilient to the impacts of climate change. Community resiliency doesn’t necessarily come easy – it requires time and cooperation. But when initiated, it can have many positive impacts beyond climate adaptation.
Climate Collaboration: A Case Study from MA
After braving numerous extreme weather events, the town of Mattapoisett, MA started working together to prepare for the threats of climate change. Town leaders gathered a coalition of community members from across sectors and generations. This team, called Weather Ready Mattapoisett, included local Boy Scouts, the city librarian, the television station, educators, the Council on Aging, and the town mascot Salty the Seahorse. Together, they developed a message and strategies to get it out to the community in a cohesive and recognizable campaign.
Gathering information and interviews from survivors of previous storms was a major part of the project. To help residents understand the range of potential issues related to extreme weather, the town produced a preparedness video. It explains how to get information about extreme weather, create a communication plan, and prepare homes to reduce the risk of hazardous materials and sewer backups.
Creating a Cohesive, Resilient Business Community
In order to jumpstart climate awareness in greater Boston’s communities, CABA launched our Businesses Acting on Rising Seas (BARS) campaign to educate the local business community about sea level rise and extreme weather. The 10-week campaign distributed information about climate adaptation and strategies to increase climate preparedness within the business community. Each business received a resilience guide consisting of 8 straightforward steps a business could take to increase their resiliency.
As part of our Small Business Resilience Series, we have been walking you through our 8 steps to resiliency. In the last two weeks we talked about the importance of knowing the risks climate change poses and developing an emergency plan. In the final post of the series, we will discuss engaging your local community.
Engage your Community and Customers
Talk with your community. Let your customers know what your business is doing to prepare for sea level rise and extreme weather events. Make sure they understand the value of resilience and the opportunities that it presents. To drive climate awareness in your community, your business can set up an event with a local government authority to discuss your community’s preparedness for climate change. Simultaneously, your business location will become a center of community engagement if you decide to spread knowledge about climate change preparedness.
Advocate for Climate Change Policies
In addition to engaging with your community and customers, you can join the conversation about climate change on the policy level. A streamlined set of climate adaptation strategies, policies, and measures is crucial to manage the risks climate change poses on our communities.
Legislation to implement a comprehensive adaptation management plan (also known as CAMP) would serve to identify and assess vulnerable areas and populations, as well as emergency response, energy, transportation, communications, health, small businesses, and other critical sectors. Call your state legislators or city councilors to let them know your stance on climate issues that most directly impact your business. Meanwhile, use CABA as your most up-to-date source of information about what is happening at the State House by signing up for our newsletter or becoming a member – it’s free!
This is the last part of our Small Business Climate Resilience Series to help small businesses prepare for the impacts of climate change by walking you through our 8 steps to resiliency. Check out the first post about the importance of knowing the risks climate change poses and the second post about developing an emergency plan. Read our BARS Final Report to learn more about the survey we conducted with businesses in high-risk coastal communities.